Africa’s Data Growth Circumstances

Africa’s data usage circumstances are a double edged sword which inhibits as well as fosters growth, owing to the increase in demand for data against the challenges in accessing the service.
Success has been met in seeking alignment to the global growth trends, whilst challenges affecting data growth include pricing, hardware and software charges, infrastructural shortcomings, monopoly among other issues.
Global projections following a publication, “A global time pass economy” in The Economist on the 8th of June asserts that “almost all this future growth will be in developing countries. The 81% of the developed world—a billion people—online is unlikely to increase its number by much”.
Despite the challenges African countries experience, it is imperative to note that demand for data has been increasing, as people seek to be more acclimatised to the growing technologies.
Africans experience challenges in accessing IT services owing to the exorbitant prices that are pegged for data and software despite some countries taking steps to price data more affordably.
A 2019 research published by (www.cable.co.uk) notes that despite the high cost of broadband on the African continent, 10 of the 50 countries offering the cheapest data in the world are from Sub-Saharan Africa.
The ownership challenges within the African IT industry have been necessitated by restrictive access to freedom framework characteristic of African communication business despite governments’ emphasis on reforming.
In Mozambique“ Competition in the mobile market increased following the launch of the third player Motivel, a joint venture between the Viettel Group OF Vietnam and Mozambique’s SPI (Management and Investment) a holding company of Mozambique’s Frelimo party, in 2011. This ended the duopoly of Vodacom Mozambique and mCel, the incumbent mobile subsidiary of the national operator, TDM.” According to www.researchictafrica.net
The same applies with Zimbabwe’s telecoms industry which is largely government owned with three of the four main telecoms service providers, Telone, Netone and Telecel being owned by government. Econet the largest telecoms provider by subscription is however listed on stock exchanges.
The infrastructural challenges also have a strong implication on the data challenges Africa faces owing to the limitations to access as well as the pricing challenges bound to follow.
It is also imperative to note that despite the existent infrastructural shortcomings other countries and private partners are investing in infrastructural development to fully meet the potential of the technological growth.
Zimbabwe’s Liquid telecoms group has heavily invested in a fibre optic line that has become central in the communications and ICT business in Southern Africa with the company having shifted its headquarters to South Africa to meet the regional demand of its services.
According to (www.cable.co.uk) survey mobile data is pricier in African countries like Equatorial Guinea and Djibouti owing to the overburdening experienced by the infrastructure despite being widely available and sim cards selling cheap.
Sudan, DRC and Rwanda are argued to have the cheapest data in Africa at $0.56, $0.88 and $0.68 respectively owing to the impoverished nature of most citizens who cannot afford data.
As further reflected in the economist publication , the leisure principle of IT is a central force which can be also realised on the African IT market.
Despite the leisure uses of the IT sector to leisure, it is imperative to note that technology has been adapted for secure means.
“As children and families use the Internet and mobile phones to seek information and assistance and to report incidents of abuse, these technologies can help protect children from violence and exploitation.” According to a publication ‘Children’s Rights and the Internet from Guidelines to Practice’ by Unicef.

Staff Reporter
the authorStaff Reporter